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Heir to Karume’s multi-billion-shilling empire dies for lack hospital funds

By Wanjohi Githae September 19th, 2019 3 min read

A granddaughter of one-time Cabinet Minister and business mogul the late Njenga Karume who died on Saturday in United States had unsuccessfully begged for funds to cater for her medical bills emails accessed by Daily Nation show.

Michelle Wariara Karume, 25, who died in Houston, Texas after a long battle with cancer had on March 21, 2019 this year penned an emotional appeal of funds to the trustees of the multi-billion-shilling estate of the late Karume.

She was the daughter of the late Joseph Karume Njenga, a son of the former minister and had been ailing since 2014. Joseph died in 2010 while the senior Karume died two years later in 2012.

According to family sources, the funds were availed in May this year, too late in the day to turn the tide of cancer that was ravaging her body.

The email was sent to George Waireri one of the Trustees of the estate and copied to her relatives.


But on Wednesday, Mr Waireri said the death had nothing to do with lack of funds. “She was there for over a year being treated. It has nothing to do with availability of funds, at all. The death came as a result of cancer. She was assisted but could not survive the manifestation of the cancer,” he said.

This was disputed by Peter Munge, the lawyer for Karume’s children, who said Michelle died because she could not access treatment because of lack of funds.

“On several instances we had to push for a court order so that she could get funds for her treatment. At one time she addressed the court and broke down pleading for her life as funds were not forthcoming,” he said. The email went unanswered.

“My final wishes, I would like you all to take a minute to reflect on my current situation, because it has taken courage, compassion and faith in God to overcome and get through every day. It is with a heavy heart that it has come to this, but I am running out of time here. I kindly would like to know the way forward because it is such a terribly long time since I was on treatment, it’s going to a year now but all this long I have come to understand on the availability of funds and still continue to,” wrote Michelle in an email.

“What is the purpose of my grandfather’s wealth if it alone cannot benefit someone as myself when it comes to my healthcare purposes.?”


She explained in detail how she had missed her medication simply because funds were not forthcoming.

“I travelled to the (United) States in December for follow-up tests, my doctor introduced me to a clinical trial, with treatment that would benefit me in the long run. At first I was anxiously hesitant to accept it because I was required to pay a huge amount out of pocket to proceed with the treatment and then I was told to wait that money has being allocated and not fly back to Kenya. I was enrolled into the trial in January….then February….then March….still waiting on funds. If anyone is concerned in any way of my well-being, my health is deteriorating,” she lamented.

She added that the little funds she was receiving was only enough to pay her rent and up keep with her young child.

In January 2018, she had addressed the court on the issue of the trustees delaying availing money for medication.

Karume’s children have been embroiled in a case where they want the trustees kicked out.

Before he died, Karume had put all his wealth under three holding companies to be managed by the Njenga Karume Trust under the trustees. The team of trustees includes George Warieri, Kung’u Gatabaki and Margaret Nduta Kamithi.